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Remember the “Anglebox”? Did you ever get up to mischief in these cars?

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Author Topic: Remember the “Anglebox”? Did you ever get up to mischief in these cars?  (Read 507 times)
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Having fun in the hills!

« on: November 10, 2009, 02:35:19 pm »

50 years of 105E Anglias

Spike Milligan once quipped that East Anglia was named after the famous motor car. It wasn't, but the popular Ford was a great drive for its time, writes DAVE MOORE.

The Press | 8:20AM - Monday, 09 November 2009

ULTIMATE ANGLIA: The most desired version of the 105E was the 1200cc Super, which is known as the 123E.

ULTIMATE ANGLIA: The most desired version of the 105E
was the 1200cc Super, which is known as the 123E.

With the Mini celebrating its 50th birthday, the fact that the final Ford Anglia design is also half a century old this year appears to have been forgotten by all but those who still love, own and drive them.

The arrival of that last Anglia, 50 years ago was a sea-change for Ford.

Until then, most small Fords had side-valve engines with a direct link to the upright Popular and Prefect models of the immediate pre and post-war years. They also had three-speed gearboxes, and vacuum-operated windscreen wipers whose action appeared to be quicker, the slower you went.

To be fair, Ford did have a 107E Prefect model at the more recent end of the 1950s with a new 997cc overhead-valve engine fitted to the old 100E body, but it wasn't until that power unit and the Ford motor company's first-ever four-speed gearbox was built into the new unitary-bodied Anglia — the 105E — that Ford could plausibly compete with the British Motor Corporation and the Rootes Group in the small, affordable car market.

Ford decided as early as 1955 that the new Anglia would be a two-door car at first, but with a station wagon and that great plumbers' favourite, a Thames van version to follow.

Two versions appeared at the 1959 press reveal of the Anglia, each with proper electric windscreen wipers. The base model had little in the way of fripperies, being painted a single colour, with fixed rear windows, no lid on the glovebox and with a central maw for an air-intake.

Mind you, even the de-luxe model was pretty plain, despite asking another £21 more than the base car. However, its rear windows actually opened, being hinged at their leading edges, it had a glovebox that opened and closed, a chrome rubbing strip, two-tone paint and whitewall tyres, if you wanted them.

But the big difference was a full-width metal mesh grille cover which gave the Anglia the fixed grimace below the two, mud-fish-eye headlamps that we recognise so readily even today.

But that was by no means the most striking design feature. The Anglia had a head-turning, reverse-angled rear window, a detail borrowed from Ford, Mercury, Lincoln and Rambler stylists in the United States, where each brand showed off the quirk in the late 50s. The Anglia's rear screen worked well aerodynamically, stayed clear of rain and frost most of the time and even contributed to good rear headroom.

At the time, the Mini took a few years to get up to speed in terms of sales, but the Anglia took off almost right away. With no need to convert newcomers to new-fangled front-drive systems, the Anglia, which under the skin was really rather simple, gained almost instant success in Britain, Europe and the Commonwealth.

In November 1959, the 105E Anglia even found itself as the first mass-produced British-built Ford to be sold in the US. Competing in a market awash with cheap fuel and even cheaper, larger cars, the Anglia made no impact at all on the US market, although I've seen running examples recently in Los Angeles and Seattle and on Vancouver Island.

Back on its home market, the wagon variant was probably the most desirable model, especially in the 1200cc-engined Super or 123E guise it shared with the sedan from 1962.

That was the year the Cortina first appeared, and it was from the larger model that the upper-echelon Anglia gained the extra 200cc.

Replaced by the first modern Escort in 1968, the 105E Anglia had a fairly short production life, but Ford made 1,288,956 of them in those nine years and made money on every one. Happy birthday, Anglebox!

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